`Gwendolyn12 Interviews *pallanoph
So, why don’t you start this interview presenting yourself to our friends here and telling us a bit about you?
Hello fellow deviants! My name is April Schumacher, and I'm a traditional artist working as a freelance illustrator. Though I grew up in the state of Iowa, I moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota to attend the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) to major in illustration, and graduated in May of 2008. I'm still in Minneapolis, alive and kicking.
So, now let’s start the interview for good. Tell us, what's the story behind your current art style?
Nature was always my biggest inspiration, from the very get go. I used to strive for both realism in my work as well as more cartoonish characters in my childhood, but gradually strove to settle for slightly stylized semi-realism. I attempted to try out a variety of styles while at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, during which I tried to push the textures in my work, as well as use of color. Anatomy is usually an important aspect of my work, since it's something that never fails to interest me in a drawing. Line and texture are also really important to me, (especially after taking a class on intaglio) which is why my art tends to feature an emphasis on said characteristics. I also like soft atmospheric effects to contrast against these more solid subjects. To this day I'm still experimenting, now and again, pushing various aspects to see where those roads might take me.
On the follow-up of this question, why did you choose to do art mostly with traditional media?
I think I chose traditional media not only because it was always readily available to me, but because I've formed such a close “bond” to my favorite mediums. Nothing can replace a pencil to me, even if I did own the current high end tablets, like a cintiq. I feel a more profound connection with my work when I'm using physical materials, when I can touch the surface with my own hands, and when I decide to let the mediums (especially water based) to do as they wish. I've given digital a fair chance and use it now and again, but overall I feel less inspired and more frustrated while working with digital media... and it strains my eyes!
Now, so here we start with that old discussion. Traditional versus Digital: What are the advantages and disadvantages of using them in your opinion, and what are your favourite things about each media?
Traditional media, while often toted as inefficient (so it seems, these days) expensive, and time consuming, is something I feel we should always consider. There's a long time tradition and history present in traditional methods, and the very physical nature of them will always have its niche. It's also easier to replicate realistic textures with varying media (wet or dry) than it is in a digital program, though many programs (like Corel Painter) have made incredible advances. I feel that the presence of a tangible piece at the end of the traditional process is enough to justify its continued existence, as well as the very physical process involved in its creation.
Digital, however, has many uses that make it a medium of choice for today's artists. Files are easily manipulated in half the time it would take to do in traditional mediums, there is no mess, it saves money on materials and space. The only thing that keeps me from truly enjoying digital programs is the amount of money one must spend on both programs and digital tablets. Also, the disjointed feel of hand/pen/tablet/computer screen is something that makes me feel separated from the work I'm trying to create.
I myself like the hybrid approach: A traditional piece I can manipulate further in Photoshop if need be, even if it's a simple color adjustment/tonal bump.
On the subject 'tools of the trade', which ones you use for your traditional art, and do you have a favourite among them? Do you have favourite tool and/or paper brands?
My range includes pencil, pen and ink/brush and ink, watercolor, acrylic, colored pencil, gouache, and pyrography, though among these, I am most likely to jump for pencil and pen, mostly because I enjoy sketching, or ink and watercolor. Aside from that, though, every one of the above mediums are my most favorite and have their use in my arsenal.
I have a few favorites when it comes to brands: For watercolors (and gouache), Winsor and Newton artist colors (very pricey); Staedtler graphite leads, GOLDEN acrylics, Caran d' Ache and Derwent colored pencils, Speedball black india ink, and Hunt nibs. My work surface of choice is Arches or Fabriano heavy (140 lb+) watercolor paper, hot press, Canson Mi-Teintes colored pastel paper, or any sort of scrap, including wood.
Do you think the arrangement of the space you're working in influences on the final result of your art or inspiration has no time nor place?
I am willing to bet if I lived in a cabin in some scenic woods near a lake, I'd produce more inspiring work! But as it is, I have to make do with my little urban apartment studio. I do feel more productive if I can keep my space organized, however, though that's tricky when you're working with an entire arsenal of materials nearby.
How long on average do you spend on a piece of art?
I'm certainly not the swiftest artist on this site, not by a long shot. I take anywhere from a couple of hours for a sketch to years to finish larger pieces. Again, I keep a lot on my plate at any given moment, so I'm usually rotating through various projects. In terms of hours, I probably top out at near 100 for my most overwhelming works (there are only a few of these) though I can't say for sure since I've never logged hours on them. On average, though, I may spend about 20-30 hours on a more finished piece. It all depends upon the free time I have available, how inspired I am by the subject, the difficulty of the subject, and the presence (or absence) of a deadline.
Now on the creativity field… What inspires you to create, and where do you get ideas from? Also, could you tell us a bit about 'external motivations', such as friends and family? Do they motivate you in any way, artistically speaking?
Nature is the big one here... Nature and fantasy elements like mythology and folklore, anything fanciful and narrative. Wildlife art was a big influence in my young life, so I'm still carrying that with me. Concept artists are always an inspiration, I love following their processes of bringing their imagination to life. Illustrators that I loved during my childhood are another factor.
My external motivations definitely come from friends, which should be no surprise since my closest friends chose art as their career path/hobby as well. They know what I do, and they always let me know that what I'm churning out isn't as bad as I may think it is. The same goes for my family, while even if they're not sure about some of the beasties I draw, they're in support of my endeavors all the same.
As I couldn't leave out of this interview, now it's time to ask about influences and inspirations! We all have them. So who, and what inspires you?
I've always loved the works of naturalists like John James Audubon since I was a child hoarding books on birds, and in my more recent years I've become inspired by the delicate and detailed drawing styles and color choices of Golden Age illustrators like Arthur Rackham, as well as occasionally borrowing an overall feel from a wide range of east Asian art. Illustrators like Jan Brett and Graeme Base inspired me to try illustration from childhood, and I continue to be intrigued and amazed by the works of my fellow illustrators, on and off deviantART.
What is the importance deviantART had to your art, since you joined this site as a member?
I've been very grateful for the feedback many have given me, be it critiques, suggestions, or otherwise, the inspiration they've given me, and their support. Having access to so much art from artists around the world has been a wonderful thing to have, and I've enjoyed making friends and connections with artists that I might otherwise never meet!
You have already gotten Daily Deviations. How did that feel, for you? Did that help or motivate you in any way?
Overwhelming! Haha, I remember having to adjust to the influx of watchers and worried they would want to only see certain things. I didn't let it worry me too much, but it did remind me that I should finish larger pieces more frequently instead of submitting so many less finished drawings.
We’re are almost at the end this interview. Before so, I'd also like to ask: How is your life as a professional artist? Which area do you work in? And why did you choose to follow art as a career?
Though I don't yet work full time as a freelance illustrator (that's the goal) I would say I am doing pretty well. Aside from selling original works of art at various sales and doing small personal commissions here on deviantART and elsewhere, I've done promotional work for local up and coming bands, and worked with Orion Publishing Group in London on the UK edition of Kristen Britain's “Green Rider” fantasy series. I'm currently working on beefing up my portfolio to cater to book cover illustration and working on a personal project, an illustrated novel about a fantasy species that's still in concept stages.
As to why I picked art as a career, the answer was simple to me. I was given a skillset, and art was a task I felt most comfortable with, something I could be passionate about. I'd wanted to do something art related since I was a child; first I wanted to work as an animator, and then I decided an illustrator would be much more fitting, as it tied into my love of books. Some might say it's foolish to pick such a path in such turbulent economic times, but I won't let that stop me trying.
Last thing: tell us something random about yourself!
Hmmm, something random? If you want it art related, I can tell you that my nickname while at MCAD was “The Girl Who Draws Horses.” I now only draw horses if I'm commissioned to do so, or if I think I can sell a piece featuring them.
But for something that isn't about art, I will let you know that I like spiders and plenty of things my watchers might find disgusting. I'd love to paint and draw some of these someday!
Thanks for interviewing me!
=jane-beata's Workspace Feature
this is the first of our new "Workspace feature" series, in which we will be talking to different artists about their working habits, tools and of course workspace, peeking into their studios where all the magic happens, asking them a few questions. We hope that you will find the reading inspiring
First featured artist is a well-known *Carnegriff (United Kingdom), who's artworks are mostly done in ink & tea.
Carne works in a separate studio, less than a mile from his home. He also makes some studies outdoors on occasions.
#Traditionalists: Do you prefer table/easel/something else?
I like to alternate between table and easel - larger works its nice to step back from, but the process I use means sometimes the work must be horizontal.
#Traditionalists: During the process, do you like to listen to music?
It depends on the piece, so again a mixture of the 2 but audio plays a big part in the work, not always music - sometimes ambient noise helps.
#Traditionalists: What about your chair?
Never sit down!
#Traditionalists: Your favorite tools?
Most favorite are my fountain pens
#Traditionalists: Tools that you keep around but never use them?
Paint!!... If that's a tool.. I have a nice set of gouache paints, I'll maybe use them twice a year.
Some works from Carnegriff's exceptional gallery:
*RubisFirenos' Artists Features
Some Traditional Works
Medium of the Month : Watercolor/Inks
Special Traditional Artists : Pebbles
If you've read the October Traditional Updates Journal you probably saw that we are looking for input on the Traditional Gallery descriptions. If you were unaware, we'd love it if you took a moment and gave your input on the matter since it can directly influence how we choose to word the descriptions.
We'd like to give a special thank you to our contributors of this article, `Gwendolyn12, =jane-beata, and *RubisFirenos for all of their hard work and dedication!
We hope everyone enjoyed this article, it was a blast to put together and we hope to put out many more like this. As always if anyone is interested in contributing to a future article please check out our group #Traditionalists on how to get involved. -Your friendly Trad Art CV Team